100 years' jail for woman who cut foetus from stranger

Lane had carried out an elaborate ruse to fool friends and family into believing she was pregnant.
Lane had carried out an elaborate ruse to fool friends and family into believing she was pregnant.

Victim lured to her Denver home by maternity clothes ad and attacked

DENVER (United States) • A woman who cut a foetus from its mother's womb and attempted to claim it as her own has been sentenced to 100 years in jail.

The woman, Dynel Lane, 35, had attacked Ms Michelle Wilkins after luring the victim to her house in Longmont, about 65km north of Denver, with a Craigslist advertisement for maternity clothes.

Ms Wilkins, 27, who was seven months pregnant, was choked, beaten and stabbed by Lane, who then cut into her uterus and removed her foetus, according to prosecutors, reported CNN.

Though Ms Wilkins was severely injured, she managed to lock herself in a room in the house and call the emergency services. According to a police officer who was first on the scene, Ms Wilkins did not know she was no longer with child.

An emergency room surgeon who attended to her noticed that the incision on her abdomen was "well performed", according to a police report. Lane was a certified nurse's aide.

Lane, meanwhile, told her former boyfriend, Mr David Ridley, that she had suffered a miscarriage. He testified in court that Lane had carried out an elaborate ruse to fool friends and family into believing she was pregnant.

Mr Ridley found a "small baby lying in the bathtub", according to the police report. "He rubbed the baby slightly then rolled it over to... see it take a gasping breath," the report said. Unaware that the real mother was bleeding elsewhere in the house, Mr Ridley drove the baby and Lane to the hospital.

At the hospital, Lane refused to allow doctors to examine her. It was only when a police investigator questioned her about the lack of visual signs of having recently given birth that she admitted that she had cut the real mother's abdomen open to remove the foetus.

Lane was found guilty in February of seven counts against her, which included attempted murder and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. She received the maximum sentence for both of those convictions on Friday, according to 9News.

Prosecutors did not pursue a murder charge for the baby as Colorado state law does not recognise a foetus as a person, reported CNN.

Ms Wilkins addressed the court during the sentencing hearing and said Lane lives in a "narcissistic fantasy" and told her attacker that she had lost the privilege to live in society.

Boulder District Judge Maria Berkenkotter preceded her sentencing announcement by telling Lane she stole from the Wilkins family and her assault was "brutal, shocking and cruel", reported 9News. "It's difficult to imagine anyone would do this," Judge Berkenkotter said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 01, 2016, with the headline '100 years' jail for woman who cut foetus from stranger'. Print Edition | Subscribe